Here’s how to access a Zoom chat after a meeting:
You can automatically or manually save Zoom chats at any point while you are in a Zoom meeting.
These chats can be stored locally or in the cloud.
To access cloud files, you need to sign in at the Zoom website, but you can view locally stored files by simply opening them and launching them with the app.
So if you want to learn all about retrieving Zoom chats after a meeting, then this article is for you.
Let’s jump right into it!
What Is Zoom? (3 Things)
You know Zoom, right?
The online sensation that swept the nation with the ability to easily video conference and work from home?
I might have gotten a little carried away there.
Let’s stay on target.
It is arguably the most popular video conferencing platform, and you can get an entry-level version of it for free.
The real point of Zoom is that you can get groups, large and small, into the same virtual workspace to have meetings, collaborate on projects, and more or less replace the real office with a virtual one.
There are even entire classes taught on Zoom.
The software has a lot of features, and there are different paid tiers, so we’re going to have to go through some of that along the way.
Zoom does include the ability to chat, and I’ll explain that in full detail.
The starting point for all of this was to make sure everyone has an idea as to what Zoom is all about, and I think we can check that box now.
#1 Zoom Essentials
Before we can get to accessing chats after a Zoom meeting, I’m going to have to take you through some essentials.
First, Zoom is designed around this idea of a meeting.
A meeting is a virtual space where people can communicate in a number of ways.
You can use voice, video, and text communications.
You can also share files, and there are even collaborative workspaces, like digital whiteboards, that help people share ideas or work together, even when they are nowhere near each other physically.
In order to use Zoom, you have to join (or create) a meeting.
This is similar to establishing a conference call (for anyone who remembers technology before the internet).
When the meeting is created, people can join it via invitations or specialized links.
There is a unified Zoom window where you can see meeting participants, various aspects of communication (like everyone’s web cameras or the chat section), and controls for managing your aspect of the meeting.
Anyone who is currently in the meeting will see the same information in the window, with the exception of the host (the person who created the meeting) who will have a few extra administrative options.
The real point here is that meetings are temporary, digital things.
You can join a meeting while it is in session, but once everyone leaves, the meeting ceases to exist.
So, if you wanted to go back and review some things discussed in the meeting after it’s over, you would need some notes or a recording, or some of the resources I’m going to walk you through in a moment.
While that covers the essentials of Zoom, I want to spend a little extra time on how chat works in a meeting—since that’s what we’re really all about today.
In a Zoom meeting, anyone can talk or transmit video (assuming they have a camera and/or microphone for those functions).
Also, anyone can type in the meeting.
All of these things can happen simultaneously.
When someone is talking, you’ll hear them.
If they are transmitting from a webcam, you’ll see the video feed.
And, if they type a message, you’ll see that in the part of the window that maintains the chat conversation (you can move this around, so it’s not in a specific spot, but it’s generally visible).
In most cases, chat conversation is there for sharing links or providing specific information that you would want written down.
As an example, if you’re in a business meeting discussing finances, someone might write down some quarterly numbers in the chat so that everyone can easily reference those numbers.
Or, if you wanted everyone to get a peek at the new company website, you could link it in chat so everyone can see it pretty easily.
Ultimately, you can use chat as you see fit in a meeting, but I wanted to cover some examples to clarify why people would care about a chat box during a video conference.
#3 Individual Chats
There’s a secondary component to chat in a Zoom meeting.
You can have a private, one-on-one chat with other people in the meeting while everything else is going on.
So, if you wanted to make fun of Bob’s new haircut, you could send your friend a little message on the sly.
That’s meant to be a joke, but it’s also an example of how the one-on-one chats work.
You can mention something to an individual without disrupting the video/audio conversation that might be underway.
I wanted to mention this because individual chats throw a bit of a wrinkle into some of the methods for reviewing chats after a meeting.
How Do You Access Zoom Chat After a Meeting? (3 Ways)
Ok. Now we’re all informed enough to move forward with this conversation.
What happens if you’re in a business meeting and someone really did put some financial numbers in the chat?
Now, the meeting is over, but you wanted to reference those numbers?
Can you review the chat from the meeting?
In theory, yes, but you have to set some things up beforehand in order for that to work.
The general rule for Zoom is that once a meeting is over, the information is not kept (there are easy ways around this).
This is a privacy thing.
If Zoom was automatically saving every conference on their servers and those servers were hacked, it could compromise a lot of people and personal information.
So, unless you specifically make a copy of a Zoom meeting, the information in the meeting is gone once the meeting ends.
#1 Saving the Meeting Chat
Fortunately, you can specifically make a copy of a Zoom meeting, and when it comes to the chat conversation, it’s actually pretty easy.
When you set up a Zoom meeting, you get to select a few options, and one of them involves automatically saving the meeting—or just the chats—when the meeting is over.
If you select this option, then the meeting will automatically be saved so that you can download it at the end.
You can also choose to save it in the cloud.
Note that you have to be the one creating the meeting for this particular option.
If you’re not the one who created the meeting, you’re not out of luck.
As long as the meeting creator allows it (there’s a check box when you make the meeting), then any user can choose to save the chat after a meeting.
The key to this is choosing to save the chat before you leave the meeting.
Once you’re in the meeting, click the “chat” button.
This will pop out the chat window, and at the bottom, you will find ellipses.
Click on them, and then you can choose to “save chat.”
When you do, this will cause Zoom to make a local copy of the chat right then and there (more on local copies in a bit).
So, the key is to do this right before you leave the meeting.
Then, you’ll get the whole chat.
There is a caveat, though.
You will only save chats that you could see during the meeting.
This does include the general chat that everyone can see.
It also includes any one-on-one chats in which you participated.
It will not include private chats that didn’t involve you.
Lastly, you can set up your Zoom app so that it automatically saves chats to the cloud.
Naturally, you need a license with cloud access for this (it means you’re paying for the tier of Zoom that includes cloud access).
If you meet these conditions, then sign into Zoom at the Zoom website.
After you are signed in, go to the setting.
From there, you can choose “recordings.”
That will bring up a list of options, and you want “cloud recording.”
You can toggle this on or off.
If it’s on, then you can choose how it records.
You want the option that says “save chat messages from the meeting.”
Make sure to save your changes if you make any.
#2 Storing Chat Messages
I just spent some time talking about local and cloud recordings, so let’s make sure that is perfectly clear.
A local recording is saved on the device that you use for the Zoom meeting.
If you’re in a meeting with your PC, when you make a local recording, it will go into a file on that computer.
Because it’s a local file, you don’t need internet access to use it, and it’s not automatically available to anyone else (although you can share it if you want).
A cloud recording is saved on Zoom servers, meaning it’s not on your individual device.
Because of this, you can view the recording on any device that you use (as long as you can sign into Zoom).
But, you need internet connectivity to access cloud storage.
Whether you do local or cloud storage, in either case, you should be able to review meeting chats at will.
#3 Viewing Stored Chats
Ok. Now you know how to save chats and where they are saved. There’s a final step.
How do you actually view the stored chats?
For that, it depends on whether the messages are in the cloud or not.
To view cloud messages, go to the website and sign in.
Then, go to “account management” and then “reports.”
Click on “user activity reports.”
From the new options, choose “chat history.”
This brings up saved chats from meetings.
From here, you can browse the chats and see what you want.
If the chats are stored locally, then you need to know where they are on your device.
By default, it is in your Documents.
There will be a special folder for Zoom, and inside of it will be a folder for each meeting.
Once you find the stored file, you can launch it.
This will open your Zoom app, and with it, you can review the chats.